LANGKAWI: An additional 152 enforcement officers and more specific legal provisions are needed to safeguard marine parks in the country, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
The Natural Resources and Environment Minister said currently, there were only about 100 officers with an average of three in one patrol boat at any one time.
Dr Wan Junaidi said the number was not sufficient and exposed them to danger while carrying out enforcement duties.
“We want enforcement duties to be safer,” he said. “We do not want problems to occur before improving the (standard operating procedure) norms,” he said after launching three new catamaran patrol boats for the Department of Marine Parks Malaysia here yesterday.
Wan Junaidi said the department could emulate the operating procedures of other agencies that placed at least seven officers to a boat.
“I will meet the director-general of the Public Service to convince him of the real situation,” he said.
The minister said he had also instructed department director-general Datuk Dr Sukarno Sugianto to prepare a draft for the Marine Parks Bill so that it could be studied before it was tabled in Parliament.
He said since its inception in 2004, the department was still carrying out enforcement based on provisions under the Fisheries Act 1985.
“By right, laws should have been enacted at the time so that the department would have had its own laws,” he said.
Dr Wan Junaidi said the department should give urgent attention to this matter to enable it to have a clear basis for enforcement in relation to its role of maintaining the country’s marine parks.
“It is my wish that during the Budget sitting at the end of the year, we should be able to get the first reading of the Bill,” he said. “Then at least, the law can be implemented by 2017.” — Bernama